Published August 2016
Everybody talks about the weather, but AccuWeather does something about it. The company brings real-time weather news and information to more than a billion people worldwide through its website and popular suite of apps. In 2015, AccuWeather was ranked number one for accurate high temperature forecasts by ForecastWatch, a leading third-party weather forecast monitoring and assessment company.
"People trust AccuWeather for the most accurate, most trusted weather information and updates to improve their lives," says Steve Mummey, Director of Ad Strategy & Audience Development of AccuWeather. "It's not just asking 'What will it be like today?' It's ‘Should I change my travel plans?’ and ‘Is my child safe?’”
To provide additional value to advertisers and boost ad revenue on the AccuWeather website, Mummey's team wanted to better understand the weather needs of visitors so that they could match them with more specific and relevant messages from ad partners.
To achieve that goal, AccuWeather linked its DoubleClick for Publishers account with Google Analytics 360.
Better visibility of advertising data
AccuWeather uses DoubleClick for Publishers to manage and serve ads across its entire website, while Analytics 360 helps it understand user behavior on its website. Before linking these two systems together, AccuWeather couldn't easily see the intersection of this data or how the behavior of various website visitors affected its revenue.
But when the AccuWeather team linked the two accounts, DoubleClick for Publishers metrics like revenue and CPM began to flow directly into its Analytics 360 account. The team suddenly got better, faster analysis of those vital numbers.
We started by looking at user analytics per page and per session. Our users have routines: some always come to the AccuWeather.com home page, others look at their hourly forecast for today and then check the forecast for tomorrow. Once we could tie revenue to those varying routines, we saw some very enlightening results to help our clients and ad partners.
Mummey learned some of the pages that had higher values by themselves were either one-page sessions or exit pages. "We weren't maximizing revenue from those sessions," he said. "But we also noticed that certain routines had a much higher value overall, even though the individual pages or behaviors were worth less."
Creating unique advertising opportunities
AccuWeather found that integrating DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics 360 gave its team unique insight into the value of certain audience segments for different advertiser verticals. For example, when reviewing its combined reporting on a country-level basis, AccuWeather saw that on average revenue per 1,000 sessions rose by 45% when two new companies began advertising on accuweather.com. This revenue increase was driven by users who were actively in-market to travel and were looking at weather in “exotic” locations such as Turks & Caicos and Barbados.
With insights like these, the team has been able to create highly tailored advertising packages with high-value unique audience segments that sales teams can sell directly or through programmatic marketplaces like DoubleClick Ad Exchange.
Customizing to advertiser goals
The integration between DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics 360 is helping AccuWeather advertisers in other ways. For instance, one of its advertisers, a health-related consumer product, wanted to survey users who had seen its ads on AccuWeather’s website. AccuWeather used Analytics 360 data to build a custom audience, blending those who had been exposed to that company’s ads on its website with location data to reach the right users.
AccuWeather shared this audience with its DoubleClick for Publishers account, which delivered the survey to that select audience. The advertiser learned that those who saw its ad on AccuWeather.com were actually 6.5 times more likely than the typical user to buy its product within the next 30 days. Not surprisingly, this advertiser is making additional ad buys with AccuWeather this year.
A bright outlook for advertising revenue
The winning combination of DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics 360 has given AccuWeather a deeper understanding of the needs of its users – and more ways to match them with specific advertisers. Users are getting a better experience, and AccuWeather's revenues are rising.
“The integration of DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics 360 gives AccuWeather real-time visibility to the next level of campaign performance insights and is helping us make better advertising decisions,” says Mummey. “We’re now creating new behavior-based ad products that are being very well received by our advertisers.”
The key, he says, is communication. "Now that two somewhat different worlds have merged ― ad sales with ops and product analytics ― it’s important that both sides understand the metrics in each platform. Everyone on the Analytics side should spend some time in Publisher University.”